Atlanta United and FC Cincinnati played to a goalless draw on Saturday despite both teams creating a handful of chances that might have ended another day. It’s an unfortunate result for Atlanta United, who dominated possession and developed the game during the second half, but a clinical lack of shooting cost Five Stripes the three points against the three-time winners with a wooden spoon.
Atlanta’s record now sits at 3-2-2 and remains fourth in the Eastern Conference at the time of writing. Cincinnati is 2-4-1 and stays 12th in the East.
With the many injuries Atlanta United are currently suffering from, the starting line-up will always be a point of interest. Alan Franco is currently suffering from an ankle injury and missed the match day squad together. Meanwhile, Caleb Wiley and Ronaldo Cisneros made their debut with the Five Stripes while Luiz Araújo and Emerson Hyndman started off the bench after a time out due to injury. Araujo and Hindman came on as a substitute in the 74th minute.
Atlanta United had a few scoring opportunities throughout the match, but the most obvious opportunity was a penalty by Wiley after he hit two defenders and crossed the ball, which hit the hand of one of the defenders. Marcelino Moreno took the penalty, but former Atlanta United goalkeeper Alec was keeping it even with a good save.
There were plenty of opportunities that could (and probably should have) been dumped in Five Stripes. Thiago Almada had two chances that came to mind, and Andrew Guttmann missed his shot in injury time to win the match.
“Louis [Araújo] “I played great ball, you know, I kind of shit on the bed,” Gottman said. I thought I could score the goal and we could win 1-0, and for me I feel the results are on my shoulder.”
Atlanta United struggled to create a lot during the first half despite dominating possession. These are the numbers:
And here are those same stats after the full-time whistle:
Just by looking at these numbers, you can tell that Atlanta United turned the game in terms of actually using the ball to create chances.
Pineda on the discussion with his team in the first half:
“That wasn’t any tactical. I think the tactics were good. I think we were just very unbalanced in midfield and created a lot of chances from the wings, few from the midfield. We talked about patience and trying to be more cool on the ball and a better understanding of the third. Last. I think we created the best chances in the second half, but again, we didn’t score and that’s the story of the match.”
In a season that has already seen Atlanta United deal with a slew of high-profile injuries, Pineda has another injury headache that he will have to deal with. Around the 70th minute, Brad Guzan got off the ball and immediately waved to the medical staff. Guzan had to be carried off the field on a stretcher and replaced by Bobby Shuttleworth.
Pineda spoke in a solemn tone about Guzan’s injury in the post-match press conference and revealed that the goalkeeper had sustained an Achilles injury. Guttmann and Miles both gave their opinion of the situation, and they highly praised the goalkeeper.
“At this point, I was so used to having Brad back in there,” Miles said. “You know, he’s always been there pretty much every game I’ve played for Atlanta United, so you get used to him, you understand what he wants and you know what he wants and asks at all times is essential for a goalkeeper.”
The added element here that is not a factor in the other injuries the team is dealing with is the leadership aspect (aside from the injuries of Josef and Ozi Alonso). Bobby Shuttleworth is the next man among the sticks for The Five Stripes.
Atlanta United return to the US Open Cup matches on Wednesday at VIII Bank as Five Stripes host Chattanooga FC from Nysa. Departure time is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
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